Diego Maradona is a king in Argentina, and on Tuesday his throne was a pitchside armchair.
It was a gift from Argentine club Newell’s Old Boys, who were beaten 4-0 by the Gimnasia side Maradona currently manages. They didn’t seem to care much. The night belonged to Maradona.
Newell’s rolled out the reddest of carpets, which also included a pregame ceremony, a framed jersey, a painting tribute, tons of No. 10 signage, and even a live camera devoted entirely to Maradona and his armchair.
TNT Sports Latin America caught it all on camera:
Why all the fanfare? Well, beyond the fact that Maradona is literally worshipped like a god in Argentina (and his birthday happens to be this week), he has a history with Newell’s. It was the club he played for when he returned to Argentina in 1993 after spending over a decade of his career with Barcelona, Napoli and Sevilla.
He only spent a season there, making just five appearances. But it was amid a particularly tumultuous time in Maradona’s life of excess, sandwiched between drug suspensions in Serie A in 1991-92 and the 1994 World Cup. Lionel Messi has even revealed he was in attendance for Maradona’s first match with Newell’s.
Maradona has held a number of managerial jobs since 2008, but Gimnasia is the first of them in the Superliga Argentina. Therefore, Tuesday’s visit was his first competitive game back at Newell’s this century.
Here are more photos for your enjoyment (via Getty/TNT Sports LA):
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